Online gambling consumer protection standards across Europe falling short

A new study by the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) has revealed that almost all European Union (EU) Member States have failed to implement EU consumer protection guidelines for online gambling. The result is insufficient and unequal levels of consumer protection from online gambling across Europe.

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Only Denmark has fully implemented the EU’s guidelines towards consumer protection from online gambling. © Pexels.

The study – Consumer Protection in EU Online Gambling Regulation – was undertaken by Dr Margaret Carran from the City University London and commissioned by the EGBA.

Chief among the findings is that all EU Member States, with the exception of Denmark, have failed to fully implement the EU’s recommendations for consumer protection from online gambling.

That finding was drawn after analysis of how far different European countries had implemented selected provisions of the European Commission’s Recommendation 2014/478/EU, which outlines consumer protection and prevention of minors from gambling.

Ultimately, the study found that the goal of the recommendation had not been achieved and that levels of consumer protection are inadequate and vary across Member States.

Speaking about these key findings of the study, Maarten Haijer, Secretary General of the EGBA, said:

Because online gambling in Europe is regulated at national level, the level of consumer protection provided to players varies depending on where they reside in the EU – and this is entirely inadequate for what is an inherently borderless digital sector. Guidelines have proven insufficient and we call on EU policymakers to act by introducing mandatory rules to ensure there is a consistently high-level of consumer protection and uniform safety nets for all online gamblers in Europe.Maarten Haijer, EGBA Secretary General

Key findings of the study

Regarding player identities, just 22 countries actively required identity verification to be carried out, while 25 countries required players to open an online gambling account before they could gamble online.

All EU member states have a mandatory minimum gambling age, with 22 countries making the minimum age 18 across all forms of online gambling. However, just 13 states enforce advertisements to contain a ‘no underage gambling’ message.

Regarding social responsibility, 23 countries require operators to have a self-exclusion scheme in-place. However, just 14 have implemented a national register for self-excluding players, whilst, even more shockingly, no Member State currently offers mandatory referral to a problem-gambling treatment service upon a player self-excluding

You can read the report in full at the EGBA’s website.

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